Freshers' Guide To
Welcome to ‘The Toon’ – the best place to learn those crucial life skills –
work hard, play harder
The locals, the architecture, the great outdoors and the partying makes Newcastle a city perfect for anyone wanting to have a well-rounded university experience.
Want to pop to the beach? Easy. Feel like watching a football match with perhaps the most passionate fans in the world? No problem. After a big night out? You couldn’t be in a more perfect place.
Newcastle's student genetic makeup is basically the following: posh southerners who love to wear Adidas, and northerners who have no other agenda but to party. These two clans live together harmoniously, because ultimately, everyone comes to Newcastle to have a good time.
Any negatives? No. Wait, yes – it’s really cold.
Newcastle’s nightlife is equal to its student population – enormous. Because of this, there isn’t that one, big student night. Instead, there are plenty, so you’re really going to be spoilt rotten for choice.
What makes Newcastle’s nightlife so unique are the much-loved trebles bars. Forget your bog standard pre-drinks then straight onto the club – your night will now be made up of pres, then trebs, then club. The most popular ones are Soho Rooms (they do blueberry trebles which are unreal), Sinners, Sam Jacks and Empress. There is also the famous Bijoux, where you’re likely to spot a Geordie Shore cast member (whether you want to or not). All of these establishments will usually charge £6 for three trebles on student nights, though this will increase at the weekend.
If being sweated on by WKD-fuelled sports team is your bag, head along to Empress and Sam Jacks on a Wednesday.
For a real clubbing experience, Digital is one of the best super-clubs in Europe – it is always packed and bouncing. The student night is Digi Mondays, where entry can be as little as 80p, but there are so many events costing around £15-£20 when top DJs and other artists play. It's also good on Fridays for Feral.
Greys Club is a great venue, with a smoking area so vast it becomes a sort of outdoor club. It’s also the home of Swingers on a Thursday, arguably the most popular student night. This plays a variety of modern grime and hip hop, with funky songs from the swinging sixties and seventies.
The Koos Complex is a mega-club made up of three separate venues: Madame Koo, House of Smith (the “VIP” club) and Floritas. Home of the popular nights, Club Trop on a Monday and Waikiki on a Tuesday, the music is a mix of tropical house, pop and RnB. You will spend four nights a week here as a fresher – only to realise you're way too old come second year.
If you’re into house music, Cosmic Ballroom is the place for you. It’s a tiny venue that is always packed, so ensure you get there at a reasonable time. If you go to Ill! Behaviour, make sure you dig out your latest Brick Lane purchase, otherwise you won't fit in.
Flares is the definition of a guilty pleasure. Everyone hates to absolutely love it. They play all of the old classics all night long, which obviously makes it extremely fun once you’ve visited a few trebles bars.
Osborne Road in Jesmond is the place to be if you’re a student. It’s full of bars and always buzzing. They do ‘Happy Hour Buzzers’ in most places at certain times, so drinks can usually be bought cheaply. Highlights include Spy, Blanc, Osbornes, Jam Jar, Billabong, 97 & Social.
For something more upmarket, Six at the top of the Baltic Centre does dreamy cocktails with an even dreamier view – definitely a place to take the parents or S.O. Similarly, Tokyo near the station serves amazing cocktails with a novel twist at happy hour – rolling a dice. If you roll a six you get a free drink, and an even number makes it half price. An odd number means you’ll be paying full price (around £7), so hopefully you’ll get lucky.
Where to live after first year
Jesmond – perhaps the most loved student area in the entire United Kingdom. Life there revolves around the numerous bars, pubs and restaurants of Osbourne Road, that are so chockablock with happy hours, you would think they would just declare a constant state of happiness.
Now you know why students flock in their hoards to the Jesmond area.
The main student roads are within the square of Osbourne Road, Osbourne Avenue, Manor House and Grosvenor Road. Within the middle of this boundary sit Devonshire and Cavendish Place – roads renowned for their, shall we say, liveliness.
One major problem with Jesmond is the fact it’s supermarket options seem to only suit those living off Daddy’s allowance. A Little Waitrose is one of your options, and perhaps the most expensive Tesco Metro in the entire country. Our top tip would be to do a house delivery order – well worth the few extra quid.
Sandyford & Heaton
If you’re think the ‘Jesmond dream’ is really more of a nightmare, Heaton and Sandyford are also other options. The houses are bigger and usually have gardens, which is why the alternative crowd tend to set up residence there. Think East London meets the North East. House prices are also a lot lower, so if you need to save pennies, this is the area for you.
From burgers to cupcakes and everything in between, Newcastle isn't short on grub options. The cherry on top? It’s pretty much always extremely cheap. Aren’t you glad you’ve come this far north?
Arlo in West Jesmond is always busy, and for good reason. The breakfasts and brunch are a definite winner, and the cakes are sublime. Even the cappuccino’s come with a mini brownie! For those with a sweet tooth, The Great British Cupcakery by Quayside makes unbelievable “freakshakes” you’ll keep going back for.
When you find yourself living in Jesmond in second year, you’re going to be in burger heaven. Osborne Road has bars such as Spy Bar, Jam Jar, Blanc and Osbornes that all do incredible burgers (as well as other delicious food) at excellent prices. The Fat Hippo have locations in both Jesmond and town, and have a wide range of burgers on their menu, including – wait for it – a peanut butter and jam burger. You are welcome.
In town, The Botanist is an amazing venue looking out over town with a great menu. For something a bit more upmarket, Six at the top of the Baltic Art Centre has the best views of the Quayside and the whole city. It can be a bit pricey, but they do a lunch and an early evening deal for three courses at £22.50.
After a nice Italian? A real hidden gem is Pizzeria Francesca in Jesmond – really good food, cheap as chips and a fun atmosphere. Portofino’s near Soho Rooms has an amazing happy hour deal of two courses for £8.95 – almost the same price as a main dish.
In terms of lunch on the go, eat4less on Northumberland Street is an absolute godsend for everyone at the bottom of their loan, with baguettes at just £1 each. Frankie & Tony’s and Bait make delicious monster sandwiches for between £3-£4.
In Grainger Market, there is a stall in Alley 4 that sells New York style pizza by the slice for a mere £1.70-£1.90. It’s seriously, seriously good – but make sure to be ready to queue.
You will find a Greggs on every corner (literally, they're everywhere), which makes a steak bake an easy post-night snack. When it comes to kebab shops, Salt ’N’ Pepper is the stop for freshers, as it is on the way home from a night out. The popular clubbing area Bigg Market is also full of countless kebab shops, so you won’t need to travel far for your cheesy chips.
One of the benefits of Newcastle is that you can walk everywhere in the city.
If you must get public transport, Metro is great for getting in and out of Jesmond and fairly cheap, especially if you pick up a student monthly pass (£26 a month). It’s also the best way to get to and from the airport.
Budget Taxis and Blueline offer very cheap fares which sometimes trump those of Uber (hard to believe, yet true). Fares from town to Leazes rarely go above £4. Even black cabs after a night out aren’t horrendously expensive, so you won’t feel guilty hopping in one home.
When the library inevitably gets rammed and it’s too cold to even consider setting up camp in the park, here are a few options of ideal study spots to make sure you get that essay in on time.
A great place to study on campus is the library in the Medical School – you are much more likely to get a seat during peak exam season.